Spotting True Team Players in an Interview

Aug 31 / Steve Lowisz
In the world of hiring, finding individuals who truly thrive within a team is like uncovering hidden gems. You want people who don't just work for themselves but also know how to work well with others. In this article, we'll delve into four key indicators that can help you identify team players during interviews.

Tip #1 - They Use "We" Pronouns

Ever come across candidates who can't seem to resist the allure of the "I" spotlight? That's usually a red flag indicating they might be more focused on their personal achievements than the collective success of the team.

However, if they use a lot of "we" and "us" pronouns, they’re probably real team players. It's a subtle yet powerful signal that they value teamwork and understand its significance.

In your interview, pay close attention to their language. Do they recount past accomplishments as a solo act, or do they attribute success to the collective efforts of their team?

The latter is a sign that they not only recognize the importance of collaboration but actively embrace it.

Tip #2 - Ask Them to Talk About a Time They Resolved an Issue

When you pose the classic "tell me about a problem you've solved" question, listen carefully to their response. Do they narrate a tale of solitary heroism, where they single-handedly conquered the challenge? Or do they describe an engaging journey involving others?

A true team player will emphasize how they sought input, gathered feedback, and engaged in discussions with their colleagues.

The key here is to gauge their natural inclination towards collaboration. Team players tend to shine when they talk about shared problem-solving experiences.

Look for candidates who emphasize the 'we' instead of the 'me' in their narratives.

Tip #3 - Assess Whether They're a Good Listener

Listening, the underrated cornerstone of collaboration. Great team players are exceptional listeners; it's part of what makes them effective collaborators. During the interview, observe their listening skills.

Do they follow up with insightful questions that show they've been truly engaged? Or are they just waiting for their turn to speak?

A valuable exercise is to notice if they interrupt or talk over you. Team players have the ability to balance their voice with others, showcasing patience and respect for diverse viewpoints.

If a candidate demonstrates this, you might have a potential team player on your hands.

Tip #4 - Ask What They Value in a Job

One's career aspirations can reveal a lot about their teamwork mentality.

When candidates talk about their job preferences, do they focus solely on personal career advancement?

Or do they express a desire to work in an environment characterized by open communication, collaboration, and mentorship?

Individuals who value the power of a supportive team are often the ones who will go the extra mile to foster a positive work environment.

Look for candidates who express a willingness to both learn from and teach others, indicating a genuine interest in connecting with their colleagues to achieve collective success.

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